Monday, October 19, 2009

Slasher Satire Done Right

Behind The Mask: The Rise Of Leslie Vernon 2006
Director: Scott Glosserman
Writers: Scot Glosserman and David J. Stieve
Starring Nathan Baesel, Angela Goethals, Robert Englund, Scott Wilson, Zelda Rubinstein, Bridget Newton and Jenafer Brown

The parody and satire of the slasher genre is something that is the subject of many a horror film, to the excellent Scream series to the abhorrent stuff like Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Summer. Behind The Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon is the finest example of this specialty sub genre. I really love Scream, but this film is smarter and much more clever than that film ever aspired too. It does not take itself too seriously but when it is time to ramp up the tension and the scares it does so with gusto. It is helped by a great scrip, some excellent direction and a phenomenal cast that carries the film to its brilliant ending. It uses some great genre talent in the likes of Englund, Rubinstein and a nice cameo bit with Kane Hodder.
The plot basics are this, a documentary crew is following around Leslie Vernon (Baesal), who is a burgeoning mass murderer, following in the footsteps of Freddy, Jason and Michael. The documentary crew is headed up by Taylor Gentry (Goethals). He takes them through his planning for his big night and introduces them to his survivor girl (Brown) and his "Ahab" (Englund). But, as they delve deeper it seems everything is not as it appears and Taylor finds herself fighting for her life when she becomes the subject of Leslie's murderous rage.
This is a amazing film that gets better with each viewing. The direction by Glosserman is great. He balances it between biting satire and a tense and scary slasher film with equal aplomb. The script is great too, I really enjoy how it takes place in a reality where Halloween, Friday the 13th and a Nightmare on Elm Street all exist. The characters are very well rounded too you really like Leslie and Eugene and cannot get enough of watching them. The cast is superb, Baesal is very quick witted and funny. He is also very good when he turns the switch and becomes the murderous psychopath. Wilson as his mentoring killer is a hoot too and I cannot mention the cast without talking about Englund as Doc Halloran, a great nod to Donald Pleasence's Doctor Loomis from Halloween. He really gets into the manic obsessive role of that character. There is not much SFX in the film, but that works in it's benefit, the appeal of this film is more the cerebral aspects than the visceral ones. Some people complain how this is two movies and it doesn't mesh together well, I have to disagree. This film is a hybrid of satire like This is Spinal Tap with a classic slasher film like Friday the 13th. And I think they mesh together perfectly and there are hints throughout the film that it is turning into a slasher film. This is a far superior film to Scream and if you see one slasher satire film this is the one to see.
This one gets 5 out of 5

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